Forgiveness. Depending on which angle you view it from it can be a drink of cool water or a bitter pill. It is the gift that, when you are wronged, you hold out and say "You don't deserve this, but I am giving it to you. I WANT you to have it." Not a hastily wrapped gift thrown in a crumpled gift bag from six Christmases ago. A gift wrap with love and care. When you are giving it, you want them to know it means something. That it took an effort.
Forgiveness isn't listed as a spiritual gift, which is probably a good thing or I'd think I had it. I feel, as I assume most do, that I've done a lot of forgiving in my time. But honestly - I'm happy to do it. Because He first forgave me.
"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
- Luke 7:47Jesus could have been speaking of me. My sins are many. I have been forgiven much. If the righteous God who created the universe and His perfect Son can forgive me ... who am I to withhold such from someone else?
"But You are a God of forgiveness"
- Nehemiah 9:17
When I remember just how forgiven I am ... that anything and everything I've ever done can be cast into the depths sea (Micah 7:19) - not bobbing on the surface waiting to be picked up ... into the DEPTHS ... I just can't hold on to something against someone else.
Jesus DIED so that I could be forgiven (Matthew 26:28, Colossians 1:14). I think I can probably swallow my self-righteous indignation and forgive a fellow sinner. I'm not going to lie and say it is easy. But there is joy in it. And sometimes closure that can be had in no other way.
If sinless Jesus, in agony, can hang on the cross and ask the Father to forgive sinners ... there must be a way for this humble broken heart to share the forgiveness that was given to me.
"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
- Luke 23:34
I will share more about forgiveness next Friday - but for this week, simply bask in the warmth of God's forgiveness. Even if you haven't accepted it yet. No matter what you have done. Let it wash over you and ease the tension, the striving, the anger. Let go of the rights and rewards and revenge. Be still and realize that the God who is God isn't out to get you. He is out to give the gift none of us deserve.